Volume 21, Number 25 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 31 - November 6, 2008

Under Cover

The groom ate dumplings
October was a great news/bad news month for Dan Squadron, the Democratic nominee for State Senate in Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The great news: Squadron, 28, has just got engaged to Elizabeth Weinstein, who just turned 32. He popped the question “on a rooftop in Brooklyn overlooking Lower Manhattan.” Romantic and politically strategic, but even cynics like us don’t suspect politics was involved in the location, particularly since Squadron sounded like he was having a little fun with our apparent obsession with the 25th Senate District. The couple ate soup dumplings from Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown.

They plan to marry next year.

Now the bad news. Last week, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who gave Squadron a big boost with an endorsement in the Democratic primary, won the right to run for a third term. Leading the charge against Bloomberg was and is U.S. Rep. Anthony Wiener, whom Squadron worked for in Wiener’s 2005 mayoral bid and who also endorsed Squadron.

Squadron’s endorsement in next year’s mayoral campaign is unlikely to swing a lot of voters across the city, but if it turns out to be a Bloomberg vs. Wiener contest, he could lose close political friends no matter what he decides.

“I hadn’t thought about it exactly like that,” Squadron told us. “I think a lot of both of them.”

As for term limits, Squadron said, “I don’t think folks should extend term limits for themselves,” although he did not directly criticize Bloomberg, who signed the term limit extension into law. He said the council should have either put the question to the voters or made the change apply to future councils, a move that would have put Bloomberg and most of the councilmembers out of a job at the end of next year.

Rolling heads
Speaking of term limits, Community Board 1 is upset about Bloomberg strong-arming his way into another potential term as mayor. The board also isn’t happy about City Councilmember Alan Gerson’s decision to support the term limit extension.

Gerson gave the board a 10-minute justification of his term-limit vote at Tuesday night’s board meeting, but he didn’t seem to convince too many. In his speech, Gerson said he cast his vote with the goal of preserving democracy and continuity through the economic crisis.

“With all due respect to Councilman Gerson, I think what was done at the City Council was undemocratic,” Jeff Mihok, a C.B. 1 member, said after Gerson left the meeting. “It was not done in the interest of democracy.”

Many board members applauded.

Mihok encouraged the board to pass a resolution decrying Bloomberg’s power grab, which he acknowledged was a politically risky move. “I’m new,” he said, “maybe my head can roll.”

Half of Board 1 is appointed with Gerson’s recommendation, but Mihok is in the half that is appointed directly by Scott Stringer, Manhattan’s borough president.

Julie Menin, chairperson of C.B. 1, who was an all-but-certain candidate for Gerson’s City Council seat until Gerson voted himself the chance for another term, said she would be happy to take up Mihok’s resolution next month in the Executive Committee.

Mihok then suggested that Stringer get involved and request all of the Manhattan community boards pass similar angry resolutions. But the Beep may not give the green light since he supported Bloomberg’s bid to extend term limits.

Green day, er, night
A “green” nightclub? It seems it’s a concept whose time has come. Jon B — known for Home and Guesthouse in Chelsea — plans to open the world’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified nightclub. To be called Green House, it’s currently being put together at the corner of Vandam and Varick Sts.

According to his environmental consultant on the project, whose name we didn’t catch, all the wood inside the club will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning it will have been tracked from seed to sawing down as having been sustainably grown and harvested. “It will be a lot of bamboo,” he noted.

Also, all the lighting will be ultra-energy efficient, the consultant said. We asked if the drink fixin’s — olives, lemons, swizzle sticks — will have minimum carbon footprint, but they didn’t seem ready to provide an answer on that. We presume there’ll be no bottled water.

As for when the place will open, Jon B, glancing up for a second from a cell phone conversation he was immersed in, said, “That’s what I’m working on right now.”

Welcome back
Michael Gaines’s quest to reunite with some of the Lower East Side kids he worked with 40 years ago as a VISTA volunteer has been successful. Following our article two weeks ago about the Los Angeles resident’s plan to visit the city last week in hopes of finding his “boys,” he received a number of phone calls and e-mails.

He found out that the Medina brothers are still all alive and doing well. Tragically, though, two of the other boys, Carlos and Mario, died of drug overdoses. “I’ve already spoken to two of the kids,” Gaines said, speaking Tuesday, still referring to the men as if they were youths. Of the two boys who OD’d, he said, “I figured that was always a possibility. But it stopped me dead in my tracks to hear it.”

One boy’s sister who still lives in the Smith Houses invited Gaines over for dinner. “I haven’t had arroz con pollo in 40 years,” he said with relish. Another local woman asked if he could chip in and help her pay her light bill.

Ballot courtesy
Anticipating a huge turnout next Tuesday along the lines of Clinton ’92, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who endorsed Barack Obama, suggests voters not all flood the polls early in the morning and early in the evening, causing crowding and possibly confusion. Instead, people should try to stagger things, by voting midday and early afternoon if they can, she said.

Red Chinatown?
Jimmy Chu, who runs the Republican Party’s Lower Manhattan office out of Chinatown, made what he called a “bold prediction” about the presidential race and we agree — with the characterization, not the prediction. “We are going to deliver Chinatown to Mr. McCain,” he told us confidently.

We’re tempted to offer Chu a meal in his favorite Chinatown restaurant if he’s right, but we’re not as bold as he is.




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